POTCHEFSTROOM - Spain owe a
large debt of gratitude to their World Cup final opponents
Netherlands because of the strong Dutch influence at Barcelona
down the years, according to midfielder Sergio Busquets.
Seven Barca players started the semi-final against Germany,
including Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Busquets, all of whom have
inherited something of the legacy handed down from Dutch coaches
Johan Cruyff through Louis van Gaal to Frank Rijkaard.
The emphasis on attack, the dominance of possession and the
rapid passing moves that can rip open the best-organised
defences are all characteristics that trace their roots to
Cruyff's Barca 'Dream Team' of the early 1990s.
"I can talk to you about Van Gaal and Cruyff, who brought
important players through from the youth system," Busquets told
a packed news conference at Spain's training base on Friday.
"Rijkaard also pushed the 4-3-3 philosophy which is
important for Barca and has also helped the national team," the
The Barca-Dutch connection does not end there. Netherlands
assistant coaches Frank de Boer and Phillip Cocu both played for
Barcelona, as did Netherlands captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst
and midfield stalwart Mark van Bommel.
Spain defender Carlos Marchena told the news conference that
having so many players from Barca, which he said was currently
"the best team in the world", was a guarantee of success.
"The (Barcelona) players know each other to perfection and
it's a pleasure being at their side," he added.
Busquets, widely praised for his performances in South
Africa as one of two holding midfielders, said Dutch playmaker
Wesley Sneijder was clearly the dangerman in Sunday's final.
"He's a great player and has proved that at all the clubs he
has played for, especially at Inter (Milan) this season,"
Busquets said of the midfielder who helped win a unique treble
for an Italian club of Serie A, domestic and European Cup.
"We'll try to stop him as we would any other player, working
together and trying to deny him the time to think," he added.
"We have had to try to stop other really great players at
this tournament and, hopefully, Sunday's game will be the same
and we'll have the same positive result."
Marchena said the Dutch had a "very complete" side.
"They defend very well, they have a great goalkeeper
(Maarten Stekelenburg) and players in the middle who are very
"Up front, they have some lethal goalscorers and a lot of
pace, especially on the counter attack," he said.
Spain face Netherlands at Soccer City in Johannesburg on
Sunday with both sides bidding for a first World Cup triumph.
Follow FFT.com on Twitter
Join FFT.com on Facebook
Bayern fans snap up 45,000 tickets to watch Champions League final live at Allianz Arena
When Sir Alex wakes up on Monday morning without team to manage, he will not be putting his feet up
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder announces he will be retiring at the end of the current season
Record goal-scorer signs a one-year contract extension with Europa League winners Chelsea
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010